The worst things the crew of the starship Enterprise have ever done

While there have been other ships and space stations featured in the franchise's nearly sixty-year history, the starship Enterprise has always been at the center of Star Trek. It's the flagship of the Federation, seeking out new life on the frontiers of the galaxy, and as a result, its crew — not just the captains — has always been composed of the best of the best that Starfleet had to offer. 

Or, well, that's the idea, anyway. In practice, the crew of the Enterprise naturally tends to make the kind of terrible decisions that lead to dramatic, exciting television, and sometimes, those plot points and story beats come down to just plain being terrible. From hijacking the ship on multiple occasions to being a weird Holodeck sex creep to getting caught up in a 400-year-old murder mystery, here are the worst things that the people serving on the Enterprise have ever done.

Geordi and the Real Girl

Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge is undeniably great at his job. There's a reason he's the chief engineer of the Federation's flagship — his knowledge of the Enterprise and its systems is unparalleled, and his skills have saved the ship and its crew countless times. He's also kind of a sex creep who makes the 24th century equivalent of a RealDoll and then gets really weird about it when the woman he based it on shows up in person.

It all goes down, so to speak, in The Next Generation Season 3's "Booby Trap," in which the Enterprise gets snared in an ancient trap that's draining the ship's power and threatening to kill the crew with deadly radiation. In an effort to solve the problem, Geordi conjures up a Holodeck version of the engine's designer, Dr. Leah Brahms. Over the course of the next 40 minutes, Geordi and Holo-Brahms get increasingly thirsty for each other, culminating in the virtual woman telling him, "Every time you look at this engine, you're looking at me. Every time you touch it... it's me," and then making out with him.

All things considered, it's not actually that weird, and it's really just what viewers assumed everyone did on the Holodeck anyway. The problem comes when the real Dr. Brahms shows up a year later to inspect the ship, and turns out to be a little more standoffish than Geordi expects — which makes sense, since they've never actually met before. Eventually, she discovers his Leah Brahms Dating Simulator on the Holodeck, and understandably freaks out this dude she just met has been doing Q knows what with her virtual counterpart for a year. The worst part? The show presents this as Dr. Brahms, who feels "invaded and violated" by some incel engineer using her image as a "fantasy plaything," as being in the wrong, and eventually has her apologizing to him over drinks. 

Murder mystery party

"Wolf in the Fold" is one of the strangest episodes of the original Star Trek, and in retrospect feels a lot more like an episode of Doctor Who with the way it mixes history with a sci-fi take on the supernatural. It starts off interestingly enough, with a trip to the sexy planet of Argelius that goes bad with a dead belly dancer and Scotty accused of murder. 

It turns out the whole reason the Enterprise came to Argelius in the first place was Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy figured a trip to a "hedonistic society" full of people who "think very highly of their pleasure" — a very TV-in-1967 way of saying they were down to boldly go to the Bone Zone at Warp 6.9 — because of Scotty's "total resentment toward women." Eventually, things start to get really weird when it turns out the murders were actually perpetrated by "Redjac," an intangible space ghost known on Earth as the infamous 19th-century serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Redjac, you see, is a parasitic organism that feeds on fear, and drives its hosts to murder women, "because women are more easily and more deeply terrified" than men. Not a very enlightened opinion there, Mr. Spock.

Since Scotty didn't actually kill the dancer, and the rest of the crew wound up putting an end to a 400-year-old murder ghost, you might be wondering how this ends up on a list of the worst things the crew's ever done. That comes immediately after, when there are still dead bodies cooling in the conference room and everyone's high on drugs that make them happy instead of terrified, when they decide to celebrate by beaming back down and getting laid like it's the end of Caddyshack. Everyone's reaction to dealing with a series of horrific serial killings is different, but we can all agree this probably isn't a good one.

Data is the captain now

Despite the fact he's an android and therefore an "artificial" life form, Data is rarely considered anything other than a valued member of the Enterprise crew. In fact, the episode where he goes on trial to prove he's a sentient creature and not just a piece of property, "Measure of a Man," is not only the best episode of the otherwise dismal TNG Season 2, it's one of the best episodes of the series, hands down. The thing is, he's still a robot running on what is essentially a massively powerful computer nobody really understands, and eventually that's going to be a problem.

Witness, for instance, "Brothers," from Season 4. After a hidden command in his programming activates, Data hijacks the Enterprise, shuts off the life support on the bridge to get rid of his organic crewmates, turns off communications so they can't call for help, locks everyone out of the controls by impersonating Captain Picard's voice so uncannily accurately it fools the ship's computer, and then bails, knocking out or neutralizing the Enterprise's entire security team in the process. In less than 10 minutes, he has rendered the most advanced starship in the galaxy completely defenseless and cut off from the rest of the Federation. Oh, and all of this happens during a medical emergency where a child is in danger of dying if they don't get him to a starbase soon.

This ultimately turns out to be a good thing — the signal came from Data's dad, Dr. Noonian Soong for what was basically a software update for Data's operating system — and Data is welcomed back with open arms. Still, the fact Data has the ability to utterly destroy the Enterprise, and that it can be activated whenever the 24th Century Zero Cool hacks into his brain and hits the right button, is not great. Oh well, it's a good thing the Enterprise never has to deal with any enemies based around advanced technology and networked computer systems with a history of taking over sentient creatures and making them do their murderous bidding, right? 

The Crusher conspiracy

Wesley Crusher, the teenage starship prodigy Captain Picard allowed to fly the Enterprise despite the fact that he was too young to have a driver's license, was a notoriously unpopular character among die-hard Star Trek fans. Really, though, most of the complaints leveled at Wesley were the same gripes that a lot of characters meant to give younger viewers someone to identify with get: in addition to being annoyingly precocious, he was too smart, too skilled, and too good at everything, criticisms that were never really given to, you know, the sentient robot or the only Klingon in the Federation that were also hanging out on the bridge during Wesley's tenure.

If fans really wanted to complain about Wesley, they should've just waited until TNG Season 5 and "The First Duty," when he got one of his classmates at Starfleet Academy killed and then tried to cover it up as part of a conspiracy. To be fair, it wasn't entirely Wesley's fault. The classmate was killed while attempting a dangerous maneuver with his flight squadron — a maneuver which had been banned by the Academy because, you know, people kept dying from trying it — after he was pressured into it by the rest of the squadron. 

Eventually, Wes did come forward with the truth (hashtag stop snitching), but only after he was directly called a liar and thoroughly chewed out by Captain Picard with the most devastating example of Space Dad Disappointment ever put to film. If Picard had trusted Wesley just a little bit more and not looked into the incident for himself, Wesley never would've revealed the real story and allowed his fellow cadet to be blamed for his own death. 

Touchy Tormolen

They might not be quite as advanced as the later generations of the franchise, but the Federation we see in the original Star Trek is still pretty far beyond the present, scientifically speaking. They've got ships that can travel faster than light, teleportation technology, and all kinds of high-tech weaponry. It's pretty surprising, then, so many episodes are about the Enterprise finding something weird and then poking it to see what happens.

The most egregious example? The show's fifth episode, "The Naked Time," in which a virus rapidly spreads among the crew that essentially gets everyone drunk until the whole crew is brawling, making out, or running around with a sword and no shirt on. It nearly causes the destruction of the Enterprise, and you can blame it all squarely on Lt. Tormolen. While investigating a science lab that was completely destroyed and full of dead bodies, this idiot — who was wearing a full hazmat suit — decided to take his gloves off, start touching stuff, and then immediately wipe his nose because he had the sniffles. The worst part, though, is he gets a full exam from McCoy when he returns to the ship, and the doctor finds nothing amiss.

Actually, scratch that. The worst part is this episode actually had a sequel in The Next Generation, "The Naked Now." So yeah, it's all Lt. Tormolen's fault the second episode of TNG is the one where we find out Data can have sex. Thanks a lot, Lieutenant.

How about some genocide?

Jean-Luc Picard has a very good reason for hating the Borg. Not only are they some of Starfleet's deadliest enemies, with a staggering cosmic body count racked up on their mission to assimilate the galaxy, they also transformed Picard himself into their spokesman, Locutus. Picard was forced to watch, a prisoner in his own body, as he was controlled by the Borg and made to order the deaths of over 11,000 of his fellow officers — the crews of 39 ships — in the massacre at Wolf 359. 

It's pretty understandable, then, that he'd want some revenge. That desire is often presented as one of his few major character flaws, and even gives Patrick Stewart one of his most memorable moments of scenery-chewing in the famous "the line must be drawn here!" scene in Star Trek: First Contact. His reaction to finding a single, stranded Borg Drone in Season 5's "I Borg," though, is much more understated, and a lot more sinister.

While he eventually grows to understand that the drone, who takes the name Hugh, could evolve beyond the Collective and introduce the concept of individuality to the hive mind of the Borg, the road to get there is marked by suspicion, fury, and one stone cold moment where Picard suggests that they infect him with an "invasive programming sequence" meant to function as a disease — "a terminal one." The crew winds up debating it, and Riker winds up arguing in favor of it. JLP's desire for revenge is one thing, and putting a stop to a galactic menace is another, Will Riker advocating for full-on cybernetic genocide is a bit far for the utopian morality of the 24th century. 

Deadly games

Thanks to characters like Spock, Data, and even Captain Picard, Star Trek has always been considered the more thoughtful and intellectual of the major sci-fi franchises, something that's backed up by all of those allegorical episodes about racism and the horrors of war. That makes it easy to forget that this is also the franchise that includes a canonical sex planet where everyone goes on vacation — Risa — and that Commander Riker went there once and got so horny about VR Wii Sports that it almost killed the entire crew.

It happened in TNG Season 5, and opens with Riker having a tryst with an alien lady named Etana. As they're frolicking, she gets him to try out a VR headset with a game about throwing a Frisbee into a cone. It looks like the least fun you can have while still technically being a video game, but when he clears the level, he gets ... how to put this ... a look of intense ecstasy that provided visual reference for plenty of fan-fiction scribes to use at the climax of their stories. 

Riker brings his terrible Google Glass back from vacation and starts handing them out to the crew, and before long, everyone's addicted to virtual onanism, which turned out to be Etana's plan for hijacking the Enterprise the whole time. Fortunately, she didn't plan for Wesley Crusher, who stumbles into accidentally seeing his mom's O-face and understandably decides that he needs to put a stop to this by any means necessary. And really: when you've gotten so thirsty for video games that a teenage boy has to show up and save you, things have gotten well and truly out of hand. So to speak. 

Romulan racism

By and large, the utopian future of Star Trek is one where humanity has finally moved past its history of racism, something that the show frequently illustrates by having the crew encounter cultures that are so wrongheaded and backwards that their people still hate each other because of the color of their skin. In the famous "Balance of Terror," however, it turns out that this just applies to humanity. Racism against aliens is still totally fine.

That's the case with Lieutenant Stiles, though, who inherited a hatred of Romulans from his family, some of whom died serving the Federation in a war against the Romulans 100 years earlier. The thing is, the technology for video communication didn't exist back then, so none of the humans actually knew what Romulans looked like. 

If you're familiar with the show at all, you can see where this is going. It turns out that Romulans look exactly like Vulcans, which leads Stiles to suspect that Spock has been a no-good dirty spy this entire time. Admittedly, this episode is in Trek's first season, but Spock had been around long enough to prove his loyalty to the Federation and the Enterprise time and time again. Even if he hadn't been, judging someone by the pointiness of their ears is never a good thing. 

Spock murdered Kirk (he got better)

"Amok Time" is quite possibly the most well-known episode of Star Trek's entire original run, and even if you don't know it by name, you probably know the plot, because this is the one where a sex-crazed Spock gets into a gladiator fight with Kirk and straight up murders him.

In what might be the single weirdest piece of alien biology the franchise has ever thrown at its audience  — up to and including the space ghost of Jack the Ripper eating fear — it's revealed that every seven years, Vulcans undergo "pon farr," a part of the biological cycle during which their desire to mate overrides their usual logical minds. In a combination of virtually everything else on this list, Spock goes full-on sex-mad, hijacks the Enterprise to take it back to Vulcan, and winds up engaging in some pretty illogical ritual combat against his best friend. Thanks to Spock's Vulcan super-strength and the planet's thin atmosphere, he winds up beating Kirk and strangling him to death with a whip. And now you know where all the fanfic came from.

Once Spock comes to his senses — his bloodlust having been sated, if not his regular lust — he turns himself in to be tried for murder, but it turns out that the whole thing was a ruse by McCoy and a drug that allowed Kirk to appear dead while being very much alive. Kirk, however, did not know that, and neither did Spock, but perhaps shockingly, that did not affect their working relationship. Turns out that in the 23rd Century, murder by strangulation is just guys bein' bros. 

Urine trouble

For the most part, the bad stuff about Star Trek: Enterprise has more to do with being boring than being actively terrible. The episode "A Night In Sickbay," however, feature what might just be the single worst thing that a member of the Enterprise crew has ever done ... for certain interpretations of "crew."

In order to give himself some company on his trek through the stars, Captain Jonathan Archer brings his pet beagle, Porthos, along for the ride. This seems like a good idea — everyone loved it when Data had a cat, right? — but it had some unforeseen consequences that, really, everyone should've seen coming. When Archer decides, for some reason, to bring Porthos down to a new planet with him, the dog, well, does what dogs do and starts marking its territory. The problem is that this isn't his territory. Or the Federation's. It's a holy site for the Kreetassans, who were already obsessed with politeness before a dog showed up to literally urinate on their sacred tree. 

In his own worst moment, Archer spends the entire episode griping about how it's all their fault that he took his dog down to their planet and destroyed one of their cultural treasures, but eventually, he makes amends with the Kreetassans by doing some shirtless chainsawing. This is never explained, but there's one thing we know for sure: as bad as the rest of the crew aboard the various Starships Enterprise might've been, none of them have ever peed on a religious artifact. That we know of.